Voices from Russia

Friday, 24 August 2012

Freedom of Hate: Protected?

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This week, Russia’s once again become the target for criticism, this time for the verdict in the case of a punk group putting on a provocative show at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The three masked ladies, having staged what they have deemed a “protest punk prayer”, prancing and screaming obscenities right in front of the altar, were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism and religious hate. The verdict drew lots of indignation from human rights activists, celebrities, and politicians. Amnesty International condemned the court’s ruling, saying, “It shows that the Russian authorities will stop at no end to suppress dissent and stifle civil society”. The governments of Britain, France, Germany, and the USA denounced the sentences as disproportionate. German Human Rights Commissioner Markus Loning told Deutsche Welle, “Definitely, this is a disproportionate sentence”.

German justice might take a different stance. Last Sunday during mass, five people entered the main cathedral in Köln, hoping to re-enact the Moscow show. Church security and priests briskly marched them out, and, now, three of them are facing criminal charges. German laws mandate a punishment of up to three years in prison for acts of hooliganism in prayer areas. In Finland, you get a two-year jail sentence for only attempting to repeat something like what the Moscow ladies did. A suit was filed with the Helsinki police against Teivo Teivainen, a professor of the University of Helsinki, for attempting to repeat the Russian feminist punk band’s stunt near the Orthodox  Assumption Cathedral in Helsinki. Erkki Johan Bäckman, a Finnish human rights activist and an adjunct professor of the University of Helsinki, told Interfax, “A criminal case was initiated under two Finnish Criminal Code articles concerning the violation of religious tolerance rules. If the Prosecutor General’s Office presses charges against the professor, he’ll face up to two years imprisonment”.

Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, commented on the Moscow punks’ verdict, saying, “Whilst we understand the group’s behaviour was offensive to some, we have serious concerns about the way that these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system”. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch wrote on Politicker.com, “Most shocking to me was the response of the White House. The Western cultural élite is rallying to the defence of the disrupters in the cathedral. Some approve of the verbal attack on Putin. Others support the denunciation of the Russian Orthodox Church leadership and the church disruption because of the church leadership’s support of Putin. All cited characterise the issue as one of free speech. I don’t. I’d assume that many Pussy Riot supporters would take a different position, and rightly so, if here in the USA, a black church were invaded and three men or women engaged in comparable conduct insulting holy places within the church and the pastor…”.

Well, let’s see. As recently as the beginning of this month, a Court in Pennsylvania adjudicated a case of church desecration. Four defendants aged 19-24 got up to 24-month jail sentences, followed by 24 months probation, and a 1,000 USD (31,850 Roubles. 800 Euros. 640 UK Pounds) fine. They aren’t to have any contact with members of the church or be on church property, and must write a letter of apology to the church members. What did they do? During the night, they entered Gardner Hill Community Church in Weedville PA, stole a stereo, and dragged a dead deer inside. They left, breaking the front window of a church. They pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal mischief. You might get just as much without stealing anything. Several years ago, two 19-year-olds were sentenced to 15 and 12 months for spray-painting Nazi swastikas on grave markers in a Jewish cemetery in Saddle Brook NJ. That was considered a hate crime, and the two were jailed. Now, does anyone honestly think that screaming obscenities in the middle of a cathedral, revered by hundreds of thousands, is what turns a plain act of religious hatred into political protest?

24 August 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

Yekaterina Kudashkina

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_08_24/Freedom-of-hate-protected/

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As John Robles Sees It… Mass-Killer Breivik Awaits Court Verdict with No Remorse

THIS is what John Robles is talking about… and it’s why I agree with him, completely and unreservedly. If anyone deserved to “swim with the fishies“, Breivik does, and I’d pull the trigger… gladly.

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The blond monster who killed 77 human beings in cold blood in Norway a year ago is about to be sentenced. Many people believe that the only fair sentence for Anders Behring Breivik, as he took the lives of people with families, friends, and futures is the death penalty. However, there’s no capital punishment in Norway, so, this predator of innocents will either get 21 years in prison or end up in his own psychiatric ward. In both cases, the mass-murderer will continue his earthly existence. Breivik receives fair treatment, as he has a three-room suite, with an exercise room, a bed room, and an “office” with a computer he uses to prepare his case and answer “fan” mail, and where he’ll return if he’s found sane. If he’s found insane, Norway will build an entire private hospital wing just for him, and he’ll have his own staff of 17 people to take care of him night and day.

The world’s eyes will be on a small court in Oslo, Norway tomorrow as the judges render their verdict in the case of right-wing extremist and admitted mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik. With his remorseless admission to the mass-killings he committed, his guilt is an established fact; therefore, that isn’t the matter before the court. Rather, the court’s verdict will determine whether Breivik will face incarceration or compulsory psychiatric treatment. Currently, the options are 21 years’ incarceration, which the authorities could extend indefinitely if he’s deemed a danger to society, or indefinite compulsory psychiatric treatment if he’s deemed insane. Breivik insists that he’s sane and promised to appeal the verdict if he’s found insane by the court. He’s remorselessly attempted to justify his mass-murdering execution-style rampage of mostly-defenceless teenagers, many of them young girls, as an attempt to cleanse white Christian society of encroachment by multiculturalism and a fantasised Muslim takeover.

One point that the press and the debate over Breivik and his heinous crimes hasn’t really touched upon, and one that I feel may be key to deciding his “sanity”, if there’s really any doubt, is the fact that almost all of his victims were white Norwegian youth, a fact that should negate any argument that he was “fighting for Norwegian purity against a Muslim threat”, and a fact that points to the sheer pointless insanity of his actions. He’s a madman who wanted to kill as many people as possible as viciously as possible, and his choice of targets made his own insane reasoning completely and utterly pointless. Sadly, for Breivik and his like-minded angry-white-supremacist brethren, such killings can be justified, in some twisted way. Somehow, they can be deemed the act of a sane person. However, for most of us, such senseless murder can in no way be justified.

In addition, the fact that Breivik is white is a very important factor in the case. He’s has been repeatedly allowed to make Nazi salutes for the cameras in the court, and repeatedly been allowed to invoke his insane ideological ranting in court, as if such beliefs could in some way defend his horrendous crimes. Were he of another race or group, it’s seriously doubtful that he’d be allowed to so blatantly spit in the face of all of us. The fact that he’s white, as with most white-supremacist mass-murders, has led the court and society to debate his sanity. Most members of white society are always quick to marginalise and deem psychotic one of their own when events such as this take place, they’re quick to call these killers “loners”, and not part of an organisation, unlike what occurs when a Muslim or member of any other race group commits such a crime. Priyamvada Gopal at the Guardian looked into this topic in depth. With the world currently engaged in what many consider a war against “primitive” Muslims, Breivik has many apologists in white Christian society. However, even in this context, there can be no justification for his acts.

Are the Norwegian people happy about all of this? Many aren’t. Many feel as I do, that there are crimes that a civilised society can in no way forgive, and that Breivik’s heinous mass-murdering rampage falls into this category. There are crimes for which, even in a humane and civilised society, there must be an ultimate price to pay. There must be an exception allowing for execution; Breivik, as one of the worst mass murderers of all time, deserves such. Thomas Indreboe, a lay judge who was removed from the case when he called for Breivik’s execution, to save “taxpayers from unnecessary expenditures”, put it well when he said, “…there are other things in Norway that need to be taken care of, like our elderly, roads, and such things; the money could’ve been spent on other things”.

According to RIA-Novosti, even if the court finds Breivik insane, psychiatrists may refuse to treat him, as he has been diagnosed as being rational and sane in the past. Breivik himself hopes he’s found sane, so that his monstrous killing spree won’t be viewed as the act of a madman; this will support the delusional architecture of his psychosis, and allow like-minded neo-Nazi fanatics a victory they don’t deserve. If systematically, remorselessly, and cold-bloodedly taking the lives of 77 human beings, people with families, friends, and futures, doesn’t forfeit one’s right to continue to exist, then, I don’t know what does. Regardless of what I think, and many who would agree with me, Breivik will continue to live, costing Norwegian taxpayers millions, and he’ll continue to breathe, exercise, eat nice meals, answer fan mail, and spit in the face of all humanity.

23 August 2012

John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_08_23/Mass-killer-Breivik-awaits-court-verdict-with-no-remorse/

24 August 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. The Mediterranean isn’t the North Pole

The Mediterranean isn’t the North Pole

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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Because of the heat wave, European veterinarians have to come up with more and more ways to encourage animals in urban zoos to drink and stay cool. In their opinion, the animals are just like children… it’s all too easy for them to become bored and listless…

August 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://eco.ria.ru/ecocartoon/20120824/729883015.html

Israel: Expert in Having Its Own Way

Shhh!!! Denouncing Israel’s War Crimes is Anti-Semitism

Carlos Latuff

2009

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Let’s not be coy. Bibi Netanyahu is a political gangster. However, there’s a good thing… Israel’s torturous domestic politics will tie him up so thoroughly that he can’t strike Iran. To attack one man, Netanyahu, as a creep isn’t anti-Semitism… it’s just good-sense. To attack all Jews for the faults of one man, Netanyahu… now, THAT’S anti-Semitism!

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Israel will abstain from attacking Iran before the American election if the USA promises to start a military campaign against Iran next spring. Allegedly, that’s the main clause of a secret preliminary agreement, which the two countries’ leaders will discuss in the lobby of the UN General Assembly. This leak appeared in the Israeli media ahead of a new round of talks on Iran’s nuclear problem. Experts believe that this could be a covert request to the USA to boost assistance.

Tom Donilon and Ron Dermer, advisers to the two countries’ leaders, developed the agreement mentioned by the media. The agreement contains some other provisions as well. If there’s no progress in the settlement of the Iranian problem, Barack Obama would write to the US Congress about his decision to use the army to prevent the appearance of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Closer to the American election in November, Obama would speak in the Israeli parliament and publicly promise to use force. The media leaks say that if these procedures are observed, Israel will agree to postpone the attack against Iran. Over the last few months, the USA’s been at great pains to hold back Israel’s militant rhetoric towards Iran. On 14 August, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta pointed up that Israel was incapable of causing serious damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Ludmila Kuleshova, an expert from the Institute of Oriental Studies, said, “The USA is procrastinating, in an attempt to give diplomacy another chance, so this kind of agreement is likely to have been achieved. The USA’s sparing no effort in trying to come to an agreement with Iran, especially now, when Iran’s in a rather difficult economic and financial situation. For this reason, it’s more likely to compromise on its nuclear programme. Probably, the situation in Syria will also be clarified by next spring, which is very important as well. Obama recently announced that he was actually on the verge of interfering in the Syrian crisis, and, now, this problem with Iran on top of all that. This is too much even for the USA”.

In a recent report, Shai Feldman, a well-known Israeli expert in TehranWashingtonTel Aviv relations, concluded that a military attack against Iran is very unlikely. Andrei Volodin, the head of the Centre for Oriental Research of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) shared this opinion, saying, “A military operation against Iran would be sheer lunacy. The USA would have to use at least a million soldiers and over 2,000 aircraft, which is beyond its means. Any other assault rather than a ground operation wouldn’t have any effect. A limited campaign would only speed up the appearance of nuclear weapons in Iran. So far, at least, there’s been no political decision about their production”.

Volodin went on to say, “The publication about some secret arrangement isn’t an attempt to put pressure on Iran ahead of a new round of talks. Its authors must have been thinking logically. Israel set up the leak to put pressure on the USA. Israel means to take advantage of the controversy between the two main presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Israel believes that now is the best time, when it’s easy to obtain even more compromise both from the president and from the Republican presidential candidate. If the leak works, Israel will get a greater amount of military and financial aid from the USA. There’s no doubt about it, because, so far, all Israel’s requests have been fully satisfied”.

23 August 2012

Boris Pavlichyov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_08_23/Israel-expert-in-having-its-own-way/

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